Monday, September 10, 2012

CSA News: Week 14!

Friends, we're over the hump. Fall is on the horizon- for those who go to school, it probably already feels like fall! We're planting our very last fall radishes, salad mixes, spicy greens, and scallions for outdoor harvests up until snowfall, and in the next few weeks we'll start transitioning the hoophouse over to winter greens, herbs, roots, and salad mix. Planting the hoophouse (or any part of the farm) is like editing a magazine- in September I'm planting for December-January, with snow and clouds on my mind. In February I'm planting for April-May with sun and blue skies. Luckily there's all that weeding and harvesting to keep me grounded and in the present.
We may see the first watermelons in the next couple of weeks- remember the cucurbit fiasco? The first planting all succumbed to drought, so we scurried to replant. Luckily the cukes and zukes are quick growing, so we've had (as you know!) plenty of those already, but the melons, pumpkins, and winter squash are a big unknown- fingers crossed for one more heat wave!

In Your Share This Week:
More heat-loving summer crops!

A torrent of tomatoes, cherry and heirloom
A cubic yard of cucumbers (they are crazy right now!)
A passel of peppers, sweet and/or hot
A smattering of summer squash and/or zucchini
A pound (or more) of fingerling or marble potatoes
A bag of braising mix OR baby broccoli
A barrage of basil, again!
A boatload of beans, rainbow or all green
A lovin' spoonful of leaf lettuce or salad mix
An onslaught of onions
Perhaps something else I'm forgetting right now...

1. Preserving shares still available. Please email me to reserve your half bushel ($30)or quarter bushel ($15)of canning tomatoes, beans, and/or cucumbers, or bulk quantity of basil ($10/lb). Pick up at the next CSA pickup after you get confirmation of your order.
2. CSA will run through the end of October. Last week in October=last week of pick-up.
3. Investor Shares available for winter! We're not doing CSA "proper" for winter, but we will be at the Building 50 indoor winter market starting the first Saturday in November. An investor share allows you to create your own share as often as you like from our market table. You invest as much as you like in the farm, that becomes a declining-balance account (credit at our farmer's market table), and it earns "interest" on your investment in the form of produce. For example, if you invest $100 at a 10% interest rate, you then have $110 in farm credit, to be used at our market stall. Investor shares never expire, and you can re-invest as frequently as you like. Each time you shop, we deduct your purchases from your balance, and you take your produce home- no cash needed!

That's it for now- more recipes next week :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

CSA: Week 13, the Week of the Salsa Share

Some weeks I'm just so pleased with the shares- the colors, the variety, the idea of all of our CSA members going home and making salsa with the produce from the farm- and this is definitely a salsa week! Try the recipe at the end of the newsletter, or make up your own- you can't really go wrong with fresh ingredients, coarsely chopped (or blended- depends on your taste!).

In Your Share This Week:

Cherry Tomatoes
Large Heirloom Slicing Tomatoes
Sweet Peppers- either Flavorburst (the lime green bells) or Carmen (the long, red, horn-shaped sweet pepper)
Hot Peppers- either JalapeƱo or Hungarian Hot Wax
Cilantro or Italian Parsley- your choice
Sweet Onions
Beets OR Turnips- your choice
Baby Salad Mix OR Red Leaf Lettuce
Radishes- giant specimens of French Breakfast or Easter Egg varieties
Rainbow Beans-mixed colors
Cucumbers-mixed varieties
Summer Squash and/or Zucchini

So the first seven items are clearly salsa ingredients, along with the juice of a lime, some toasted cumin seed, and salt and pepper. I often include finely chopped cucumbers and finely chopped raw beans in salsa also! You can toss in chopped peaches, fresh blueberries, even finely chopped or grated carrots or turnips (maybe beets, too, if you like everything-purple salsa!). Be sure to try purslane and verjus (juice of unripe grapes, an excellent local product that serves a similar purpose as citrus in most dishes) too- especially if you're into the uber-local (i.e. no citrus) thing!


1.Canning/preserving shares still available: tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, basil. $30 per yellow lug (approx 1/2 bu) for all but basil. $15 for half a lug. Basil $10 per lb. Email me your order (, and tell me which week is best for you to do your canning, and we'll coordinate.

2. Local Rye Berries available for $1 per lb from Marty Heller. Email your order or ask at CSA pickup on Tuesday. Rye berries can be used any way you'd use rice; they taste like rye and are bursty-chewy in texture. See last week's blog for a delicious sounding recipe for rye and cabbage (for which you could sub kale or any green thing, in my opinion!)


Birch Point Salsa Extraordinnaire

2 cups chopped tomatoes, mixed colors
1-2 cups chopped sweet peppers, depending on how pepper-heavy you like salsa
1 cup chopped sweet onion (or less, to taste)
2-5 cloves minced garlic, to taste
1-4 minced hot peppers, to taste
a good handful of chopped cilantro and/or parsley (yes, you can use the stems- they are as flavorful as the leaves and perfect in salsa)
Juice of one lime, squeezed to every last drop (or lemon if you have no lime)
1 Tbsp toasted whole cumin seed, either crushed or not, your choice
generous dashes of coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper

I tend to do the onions, garlic, and peppers in the food processor, and chop tomatoes and herbs by hand, but you can certainly do them all one way or another- depends on if you like your salsa chunky, smooth, or in between. Citrus really makes this dish, but if you are a hard core bioregionalist, instead of lime use a generous handful of chopped purslane and/or 1/4 cup verjus, perhaps from Blackstar Farms. Mix everything well. Ideally, let the salsa set for a few hours, covered (it's fruit fly season!) at whatever temperature you want to eat it, and then serve. If you can't resist, and eat it immediately, that's lovely, too.